Attack of the Grey Lantern

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Attack of the Grey Lantern
Mansun - Attack of the Grey Lantern.jpg
Studio album by Mansun
Released 8 February 1997 (Japan)
17 February 1997 (Europe)
24 June 1997 (US)
7 June 2010 (Collector's edition)
Recorded 1996–1997
Genre Alternative rock, progressive rock, symphonic rock, Britpop
Length 62:13
Label Parlophone
Producer Paul Draper, Mark Stent, Ian Caple
Mansun chronology
Attack of the Grey Lantern
Singles from Attack of the Grey Lantern
  1. "Egg Shaped Fred"
    Released: 25 March 1996
  2. "Stripper Vicar"
    Released: 9 September 1996
  3. "Wide Open Space"
    Released: 25 November 1996
  4. "She Makes My Nose Bleed"
    Released: 3 February 1997
  5. "Taxloss"
    Released: 28 April 1997

Attack of the Grey Lantern is the debut album by English alternative rock band Mansun released in February 1997 via Parlophone. The album spent a total of 19 weeks on the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number one.[1]


According to Mansun's Kleptomania liner notes, frontman Paul Draper states that "Take It Easy, Chicken" was their first song and the band really did not know how to play their instruments, let alone play as a band, when DJs Steve Lamacq and John Peel started to play the song on BBC Radio 1. Through 1996 and 1997, Mansun released "Egg Shaped Fred" (which was re-recorded for the album to include new drummer Andie Rathbone), "Stripper Vicar", "She Makes My Nose Bleed" and "Taxloss" (styled Taxlo$$). "Wide Open Space" became a dance anthem after being remixed by DJ and producer Paul Oakenfold under the production alias Perfecto. This remix was included on Oakenfold's compilation Resident: Two Years of Oakenfold at Cream, as an indicator of being one of the most played songs at major UK nightclub Cream, as well as in nightclubs around the world, over the 1997-1999 period.[2]

"Taxloss" alludes melodically and lyrically to The Beatles' song "Taxman", and also to the rhythmic feel of "Tomorrow Never Knows", as well as "Long Haired Lover from Liverpool" by Little Jimmy Osmond. The video notoriously featured the band throwing £25,000 in five pound notes onto the main concourse of London's Liverpool Street station during rush hour and watching the ensuing chaos.[3]

"The Chad Who Loved Me"'s main theme comes from John Barry's 1967 song You Only Live Twice from the James Bond film of the same name.

Concept album[edit]

While Mansun's singer and songwriter, Paul Draper, admits that Attack of the Grey Lantern is not a fully fledged concept album, it was his intention for it to be one, until he "ran out of steam", labelling the LP "half a concept album – a con album".[4] The majority of the record is centred on the concept of a superhero, known as "The Grey Lantern", in the guise of Draper himself. Throughout the album, the hero encounters a number of immoral inhabitants in a fictional English village.[4][5]

Well, The Grey Lantern is like a comic-book hero — the album is about this village of people with really disgusting morals and the Grey Lantern sorts them out. I suppose the Grey Lantern's me. I wouldn't have a cape, but there are definitely characters on the record — Albert Taxloss, Chad, Dark Mavis. At the end of the album it all gets resolved and you find Mavis is actually the Stripper Vicar.[4]

At the time of release, Draper hinted at a possible album sequel, titled "The Return Of The Grey Lantern".[4] For its American release, the album's running order was re-sequenced, a move which some felt compromised the intended concept, as the song "Stripper Vicar" was replaced with "Take It Easy, Chicken."


When Attack of the Grey Lantern was released in February 1997, it charted at #1 on the UK Albums Chart.[1] The album was preceded by four singles, the first of which "Egg Shaped Fred" was released a year prior. "Egg Shaped Fred" was Mansun's début single for Parlophone Records and made #37[1] in the UK. The following three singles ("Stripper Vicar", "Wide Open Space", "She Makes My Nose Bleed") all made the top forty each improving of the previous singles' chart position. The final single released from the album was "Taxloss" which followed the album in April 1997 and made #15.[1] In the US, Mansun enjoyed their only chart success with "Wide Open Space" reaching the modest position of #25 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[7]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[5]
NME 8/10[8]
Pitchfork Media 9.3/10[9]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[10]
Select 2/5[4]


Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Melody Maker United Kingdom Best 50 Albums of the Year[11] 1997 12
NME United Kingdom Best 50 Albums of the Year[12] 1997 44
Q United Kingdom Best 50 Albums of the Year[13] 1997 *
The Guardian United Kingdom Best 10 Pop CD's of the Year[14] 1997 *

* denotes an unranked list.

Track listings[edit]

UK edition

All tracks written by Paul Draper; except where indicated.

No. Title Length
1. "The Chad Who Loved Me" 5:02
2. "Mansun's Only Love Song" 5:55
3. "Taxloss" 7:02
4. "You, Who Do You Hate?" 3:06
5. "Wide Open Space" 4:31
6. "Stripper Vicar" 4:05
7. "Disgusting" 5:07
8. "She Makes My Nose Bleed" 3:55
9. "Naked Twister" 4:39
10. "Egg Shaped Fred" 4:12
11. "Dark Mavis" 8:36
12. "An Open Letter to the Lyrical Trainspotter" (Hidden track at the end of track 11) 4:02
Japanese edition
US edition

2010 3CD collector's edition[edit]

Disc one same as UK edition


from "Egg Shaped Fred" (One EP)
  • "Ski Jump Nose"
  • "Lemonade Secret Drinker"
  • "Thief"[+ Hidden Bonus Track]
from Take It Easy, Chicken (Two EP)
  • "Drastic Sturgeon"
  • "The Greatest Pain"
  • "Moronica"
from "Stripper Vicar" (Three EP)
  • "The Edge"
  • "The Duchess"
  • "An Open Letter to a Lyrical Trainspotter"
  • "No One Knows Us"
  • "Things Keep Falling Off Buildings"
from "Wide Open Space" (Four EP)
  • "Rebel Without a Quilt"
  • "Vision Impaired"
  • "Skin Up Pin Up"
  • "The Gods of Not Very Much"
  • "Moronica (Acoustic Version)"
  • "Lemonade Secret Drinker (Acoustic Version)"
from "She Makes My Nose Bleed" (Five EP)
  • "The Most to Gain"
  • "Flourella"
  • "She Makes My Nose Bleed (Acoustic)"
  • "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail"
  • "Live Open Space"
  • "Drastic Sturgeon (Live)"
from "Taxloss" (Six EP)
  • "Grey Lantern"
  • "The Impending Collapse of It All"
  • "Ski Jump Nose (Live)"
  • "Wide Open Space (Acoustic)"
  • "Taxloss (John 'OO' Fleming Remix)"
  • "Taxloss (Lisa Marie Experience Remix)"
  • "Taxloss (Gaudi Remix)"


Technical personnel

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
Scottish Albums Chart[15] 3
UK Album Chart[16] 1
Preceded by
Blur by Blur
UK number one album
1 March 1997 – 7 March 1997
Succeeded by
Spice by Spice Girls


  1. ^ a b c d "Mansun at". Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
  2. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Resident: Two Years of Oakenfold at Cream review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2006-04-11. 
  3. ^ [1] Archived 27 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b c d e Wilkinson, Roy (March 1997). "Mansun: Attack of the Grey Lantern (Parlophone)". Select (81): 102. 
  5. ^ a b Sullivan, Caroline (21 February 1997). "Mansun: Attack of the Grey Lantern (Parlophone)". Friday Review. Guardian Media Group. p. 14. 
  6. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Attack of the Grey Lantern – Mansun". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-857-12595-8. 
  8. ^ Beaumont, Mark (12 February 1997). "Mansun – Attack Of The Grey Lantern". NME. Archived from the original on 26 January 2001. Retrieved 6 August 2009. 
  9. ^ Wisdom, James P. "Mansun: Attack of the Grey Lantern". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 16 October 2000. Retrieved 6 August 2009. 
  10. ^ DiMartino, Dave (8 August 1997). "Mansun: Attack Of The Grey Lantern". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 29 June 2001. Retrieved 4 August 2009. 
  11. ^ "Melody Maker Albums of the Year, 1997". Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  12. ^ "NME Albums of the Year, 1997". Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  13. ^ "Q Albums of the Year, 1997". Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  14. ^ Sullivan, Caroline. "Feature: Best 10 Pop CD's". Friday Review. Guardian Media Group (5 December 1997): 27. 
  15. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". 1997-02-23. Retrieved 2016-09-19. 
  16. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 348. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]